Miami cryptocurrency exchanger sentenced to prison for running unlicensed money transmitter business


Date: April 2, 2024


MIAMI — A Miami-based digital currency exchanger was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business that converted cryptocurrency drug proceeds into cash.

Raul Rodriguez, aka raultiovigia, of Miami, Florida, was in the business of converting cash into bitcoin and other digital currency, and vice versa, in exchange for a fee. Rodriguez provided these services to the public through an online digital currency exchange platform known as “”

Rodriguez exchanged at least $5,047,462 in digital currency from 2016 through 2022; during the first two years of that period, he was the highest-volume trader of digital currency on the platform in the State of Florida.

In addition to the 57-month prison term, Rodriguez will be on supervised release for three years, and was ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $5,047,462.

In March 2013, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) publicly announced that an administrator or exchanger of a virtual currency, such as Bitcoin, was required to register with the Secretary of the Treasury as a money transmitting business.

Despite these requirements, Rodriguez operated an unregistered and unlicensed money transmitting business for over five years. Rodriguez’s clients included a convicted drug trafficker and a professional money launderer.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), Miami Field Office, announced the sentence.

CI Miami investigated the case with assistance from the FBI, Miami Field Office, and the DEA Miami Field Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Browne prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Stone handled asset forfeiture.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.